I had the chance to catch this Texas quartet at Milwaukee’s Days of the Doomed fest in 2013, where Venomous Maximus distinguished themselves as the most up-tempo outfit on the bill. Unfortunately, they got left behind at the border on the High on Fire/Pallbearer tour a couple years back, which was super-lame, cuz they probably wouldda killed it on that bill. But while we’ll likely never see ‘em live on this side of the line, their recorded output still holds its own, with their third full-length album out next month on Shadow Kingdom.
No Warning eases us in with an instrumental keyboard intro, which fades into the gloomy, mid-paced metal of “Spellbound.” This track is actually somewhat akin to Vancouver trad-metal outfit Spell, albeit with a much deeper vocal. “Pray For Me” continues the occult-rock vibe, throwing in a heavy, doomy chorus for good measure. Some of the power-doom riffs on this one kinda remind me of Atlantean Kodex.
“Return of the Witch” is one of the longest songs on here, at a shade under six minutes, though it doesn’t sound markedly different from the previous two tracks. This is not the blazing speed-metal band that I remember at times from their previous record. “All of My Dreams” even takes an unexpected acoustic turn, which doesn’t quite hit the mark. I am really not digging the vocal sound on this one, either…
The title track is probably the best one on here, sounding a lot like 1984 vintage Judas Priest, before they got too synthy. Tis more of a mid-paced number, mind you—more “Love Bites” than “Freewheel Burning.” They end on a doomier note with “Sea of Sleep” clocking in just shy of 10 minutes, a tune that would not have sounded outta place in Milwaukee a few years ago, where they seemed to play a lot faster than this. Overall, No Warning still has its moments, but it’s lacking some of the bite of its predecessors.